Monday, November 2, 2015
Hospitality For Hospice
I am making this spaghetti at breakfast time today so that I can get the baked dish to church early. From there, the next volunteer will take it, along with the rest of the lunch, to the Hospice House. Our church provides lunch once a month for any family members who are sitting those long hours that come with this end-of-life part of the journey. Centuries ago, hospices were places of hospitality for the sick, wounded, or dying. We try to provide some "hospitality' to those who use the modern version of this service.
Other churches take turns so that several times a week there is something to eat other than fast food that can be picked up quickly. Our monthly meal is baked spaghetti, salad, bread and dessert.
We are free to use our own version of baked spaghetti. I had made this recipe months ago and thought then that when my turn came, this is the one I wanted to make. I posted the recipe back then, but this is how I made it today. Just a couple of tweeks to the original.
One reader emailed after that first post saying that she found it hard to mix the cream cheese into the hot spaghetti. I had the same problem. This time I dipped out a little of the hot pasta water and saved it to add if I was having that problem again. And I did. But when I added in just a little of that hot water, it was like magic. It finished melting the cream cheese and it stirred together much easier.
The other change I made was to increase the amount of spaghetti to 16 ounces. That's what's in a box of spaghetti—at least the brand I buy. And today I needed a full dish. I chose a pack of ground beef that had a little more than a pound. For this dish, I don't think it matters that I used more pasta and more meat. (I do have one pasta recipe where a full box of the pasta is just too much for the amount of sauce. Use your own good sense.)
BAKED CREAM CHEESE SPAGHETTI
...adapted from Plain Chicken
1 (28-oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1 lb. lean ground beef (I used 1-1/3 lb)
(I also added 1/2 can of diced tomatoes to stretch the sauce a little more)
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, minced (or 1/2 tsp of jarred minced garlic)
8-oz. cream cheese, cut into cubes
1-3 tablespoons pasta cooking water
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a skillet, brown ground beef until cooked through. Drain, if needed. Stir in spaghetti sauce. Let simmer while preparing the rest of the dish.
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and placed hot cooked spaghetti in bowl. Add cream cheese, Italian seasoning and garlic. Stir until cream cheese is melted and spaghetti is thoroughly coated. Add a tablespoon or two of pasta cooking water to make it blend easier.
Lightly grease a 9x13-inch dish. Spread a small amount of meat sauce in the bottom. Put spaghetti on top of sauce. Top with remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly.
If you "make and take" often, be sure to keep things like foil pans, heavy duty foil and insulated totes on hand. It makes it easier for the recipient (unless it's your next door neighbor.) The spaghetti today was wrapped well and popped into an insulated box and dropped off at church. It should still be warm by the time it gets to it's final destination.